tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN March 25, 2016 9:30am-11:31am EDT
daesh out of the city or do you have no position on who controls the city and its ancient ruins. >> thank you for giving me another crack. a do over, right? so a couple of thoughts. first of all, as you well know and i think you have traveled to palmyra at one point? yet. it's a long-suffering place, and isil invaded the city in 2015, the assad regime respond with increased airstrikes causing many civilian casualties. it suffered from isil atrocities, that includes the gruesome murder last august of khaled assad, and the sector spoken about this, who was beheaded. its history and culture have been systematically wiped out by
isil. it just looted its historical sites. so all of that under consideration, of course our priority, and i said this yesterday, is defeating and destroying daesh. that remains our priority. and yet we also recognize that replacing one or replacing their by their -- barbaric role with assad's journey is not -- tyranny is not a great trade off of a great solution. the syrian people should not have to decide between isil and assad, and that's again what i was trying to convey yesterday which speaks to the fact that that's why we need to advance of
the u.s.-led negotiation. we need to establish a cease-fire. we need to end of the civil war, get a transitional government into place, and then we can talk about cooperation against daesh. >> it just seems a little strange because two of the things we've heard over the last many months was, one, that assad wasn't fighting daesh proper and that he was mainly fighting the modern syrian opposition -- >> and that's true. >> and that carried over to what the russians were doing as well. so now they seem to be doing some of that. shouldn't that be lauded in your estimation? and in the second thing was that, well, you can answer the first thing while i remember the second. >> so i'm not going to laud it because important to remember that one of the reasons issues in syria is because assad's bureau crackdown on its own own people created the kind of
vacuum if he will that allowed a group like isil or daesh to flourish. just because he's now given a cessation of hostilities willing and/or able to divert his forces to take on daesh doesn't exonerate him or his regime from the gross abuses being carried out against the syrian people. again, it reflects i think that complex state of affairs that is syria today, and it's why we need a political transition away from assad to a transitional government that supported by all the syrian people, because we do have to deal with daesh. so i think i'm we support any
effort to destroy or dismantle daesh, i think we have to keep our eyes on the longer-term goal, which is a peaceful transition and political future for the people of syria. >> are related question. iraqi forces have launched what this is a first step the overtaking the islamic state stronghold in mosul. at this point how significant would that be considering the islamic state seems to stand out with a presence in europe and also in places such as libya? >> i apologize, just last part of the question again. i just didn't hear it correctly. >> at this point how significant would be for iraqis forces to retake mosul from the islamic statislamicstate considering thp has spread out and now has a presence in parts of europe as well as libya and other places? >> john spoke about this the other day. i spoke about yesterday. we have been steadily chipping
away at isil held territory in syria and certainly in iraq. this is part of that effort. i mean, we sort of support and share with iraqi government its goal of liberating mosul as quickly as possible. as we've long said is going to be, certainly we're going to support, but this has to be an iraqi led effort. the iraqi forces are taking the fight to daesh in mosul every week. already this effort has begun. and as i said, we support it. i don't know how significant it is for the broader or other aspect of daesh is efforts,
which is to export terror to other parts of the world cup and we talked yesterday. this kind of like, there is daesh in israel, a rather excuse become in iraq and in syria, taking the fight to them, put the squeeze on them but what we have seen that i think is related to that is an effort to establish a foothold or affiliates and other places from afghanistan to libya. and where we've had opportunities to strike in those areas, we have taken those opportunities to strike them and target their leadership. and then a third aspect is this radicalization, this attempt to recruit or to train up individuals who can then go out, small cells, but also networked in some cases, internet mass casualty terrorist attacks in different cities in europe as well as other places.
at continues to be a threat. they are all interconnected. i don't know how much what is the result of another. i just don't. >> going back to brad's question on the syrian forces and so on. you don't laud them but you do acknowledge that the government forces have been basically on the ground fighting isis or daesh more than anyone else with their kurdish allies. we do acknowledge that? all throughout the last three years and so on, they are the ones that are actually on the battlefield engaging -- >> look, there's also been a lot of collusion between them, especially in the oil trade. we talked about that. it's a mixed record, i'm sorry. primarily the regime has been fighting the opposition forces. but i think the regime would recognize that daesh is just as much a threat to them as the
rest of the world. i think frankly it speaks to the fact, even distinguishing regards daesh as an enemy that needs to be destroyed and uprooted speaks to just the brutality and the universal recognition of daesh's brutality that so many disparate forces or entities recognize that and say they need to destroy them. please. i can only have a couple more questions. >> one last question. you talked about the long-term. in the short term you definitely are going to see daesh completely -- >> i think i said that with the caveat that we don't want to see, no, i think i said, you know, it's in some ways the lesser of two evils, but we welcome any effort to destroy, we welcome any effort, we
welcome, our overarching goal is to destroy daesh. so if it's the syrian regime that's doing that, that's not a bad thing. >> can we switch subjects or are we still on -- >> still on syria. >> earlier in the week the syrian chief negotiator for the peace talks made some claims that the our north korean troops fighting in syria alongside the assad regime. is that something you are tracking? >> i'm not -- i'm not. i haven't seen those claims. now granted i was traveling with a secretary in cuba so i may have missed it. who said this? >> the syrian opposition. >> i have not, such as ever seen those claims and they have no information about their credibility. i'd be skeptical but -- >> if true, would you be
concerned, dismayed, i started? >> i'm not going to address a hypothetical, with all due respect. >> i don't know if you're asked this yesterday since i wasn't here. are you aware of what seems the acknowledgment by a russian general that russian special forces are involved and on the ground in the offensive in palmyra? if so can you confirm that and what kind of reaction does thate kind of government have to get? >> well, so a couple of things. one is we, i cannot confirm it. but it's not particularly surprising, even with the announced withdrawal i think last week of russian forces, we still see a number of russian soldiers, russian troops on the ground supporting the regime. so all i can say is it's not, it wouldn't be particularly surprising.
>> i would like to move off, and i apologize let's do a couple more. >> it is reported that north korea has developed a solid fuel missiles. do you have any information on that? >> any information about -- >> about solid fuel missiles. >> they said they tested -- >> yes, i do. hold on one second. a solid, yeah. so we have seen from a north korean state media report of a solid fuel rocket engine test. look, our reaction is that north korea should refrain from any actions and rhetoric that raise tension in the region and comply with its international obligations and commitments. it continues to frankly consistently show that it's
reluctant to do that, but u.n. security council resolutions require north korea to suspend all activities related to its ballistic missile program and to abandon its ballistic missile program and a complete, verifiable come and irreversible manner. so i believe there. please, in the back. >> a white house official announce the president obama is going to hold a bilateral meeting between u.s. and china top leaders during the nuclear security summit. are you able to share more information about that meeting? what are the dominating issues that they are probably going to talk about? >> so of course i wouldn't presume to comment on what is essentially the white house meeting, or bilateral. but i have of course seen confirmation that they will need. it goes without saying that our
relationship with china, our bilateral relationship, and our multilateral relationship with china is broad and diverse, covers a number of issues come anywhere from concerns about syria, concerns about the global threats out there. and certainly we, in climate change, including top 21 -- cop21. it also includes economic issues, trade issues, cybersecurity issues, as well as concern, and ongoing concerns about human rights. so there's a lot of issues they will probably hit on. >> krg president barzani said in an interview with the our monitor a couple of days ago that after this go to referendum at the end of this year his region is only going for independent. and he said he is hoping that i
will stand against that it was a tragic be stand against an independent kurdistan? >> again, we support kurdish region as part of iraq. we supported its efforts, certainly considerable efforts, despite daesh and isil and remove it and drive it out of iraq. i just don't have anything to say that i'm not good to talk about a political process that we still haven't seen or a referendum that hasn't materialized. last question. >> we were told back in february everyone here at the state department takes the required security trade land and classified information. if that is true how come these records for mrs. clinton have not been made public through for you. then we have based on information mrs. clinton is get a cyber briefing in 2011. why was that allowed to happen?
>> i just simply don't have information about whether she may have missed a cyber briefing. it's my understanding that, just as this secretary of state, everybody in this building would receive that kind of, that type of training and awareness. >> what type of punishment would there be? >> i just, i mean, there's -- we all have to undergo that and it's considered mandatory. i don't know the specifics of this case. not so much punishment but access to computers, that kind of thing might be affected. i'm talking broadly here and generally, not specifically to this case. the first part of your question, i'm not quite sure the status of the foia requests that may be being processed. so thanks guys. >> thank you.
>> [inaudible conversations] >> since the state department private secretary of state john kerry has traveled to brussels where he is expressing his condolences to the belgian people. associate press reporting today at least two americans are among those killed in tuesday's terror attacks in brussels. suggested john terry confirmed fatalities in a news conference today after meeting with diligence prime minister. he is out of step up counterterror cooperation. here's a look at our primetime schedule today beginning at 8 p.m. on c-span.
>> i'm going to argue today that a small network of anti-muslim organizations in the wake of september 11 attack captivated the media specifically through emotional appeals. and though these organizations were once actors within the broader family and/or physicians try to shape public discourse about islam they have have raised more than $240 million, the most significant campaigns to shift american public opinion against islam. i wish we have they have considerable influence upon our counterterrorism policy, the recent wave of anti-sharia laws,
and perhaps most disturbingly, have you even been hired to train our counterterrorism officials. and all of this of course occurs in the broader context of the so-called out of hearts and minds that we codified ourselves against groups like daesh or isis. and surely as osha and into my talk, these ideas about anti-muslim ideas are avid travelers. they get picked up by international media were i think they may be the most significant harm by tarnishing the repetition of the united states which was once a paradigm for religious -- make it seem as though the u.s. is, in fact, anti-muslim, thereby validating the claim of groups like isis or daesh that the uss thunderbolt at war with islam. spent that's just part of a professor he had to say on the rise and influence of anti-muslim groups in america.
>> for a woman to be at the head of the most powerful country in the world, when one of our key allies doesn't allow women to drive, and our most significant thing at this time, isis, is literally executing women and girls simply for being women and girls, i think this sends a powerful message from the bully pulpit about what america stands
for. >> go to booktv.org for the complete weekend schedule. >> they were made force on the farm began to decline radically in the 1930s. it was not until the 1930s that they figured out how to make a robert are big enough to fit on a tractor. and start in the 1930s to the 1940s you had an almost complete replacement of horses as the work animals on farms. idb leave one of my books on horses, i read that in the decade after world war ii we had something like a horse holocaust, that the horses were no longer needed. we didn't get rid of them in a very pretty way. >> sunday night on q&a, robert gordon discusses his book the rise and fall of american growth, which looks at the
growth of the american standard of living between 1870-1970 and questions its future. >> one thing that often interests people is the impact of superstorm sandy on the east coast back in 2012. that wiped out the 20th century for many people. the elevators no longer work in new york. the electricity stop. you couldn't charge your cell phone. you could pump gas into your car because it required electricity to pump the gas. so the power of electricity in the internal combustion engine to make modern life possible is something that people take for granted. >> sunday night at eight eastern on c-span's q&a. >> starting monday on c-span2 the supreme court cases that shaped our history come to life with a c-span series landmark case of the historic supreme
court decisions. hours 12 part series exports stories and drums bass of the most significant decisions in american history. >> john marshall in marbury v. madison said this is different. the constitution is a political document. it sets up political structures but it's also a law. and if it is a law we have the courts to do what it means. spent what sets out dred scott apart is the fact that it is the ultimate anti-presidential case exactly what you don't want to do. do. >> who should make the decisions about those debates. and lochner versus. the supreme court said it should make the decisions about those debates. >> landmark cases begins monday night at 10 eastern c-span and c-span.org. >> remarks now from irs commissioner john koskinen on potential budget cuts to his agency and why tax return revenue could decline as the result of this decree.
he's this decree. he spoke just after national press club for about one hour. >> welcome to tax season. americans now have three weeks, 10 hours and 58 minutes to get their federal returns filed. who's counting? for our speaker, everything is tax day. john koskinen is the commission of the irs where he oversees the collection of more than $3 trillion each year in individual corporate plan a gift and estate tax. it seems every tax season generates a headline or two. this should include iran's concerns about scammers a telephone or e-mail taxpayers for identifying information to something he says the irs would never do. and a presidential nominee has claimed either as has audited his returns for at least 12 years because he is quote a christian. last fall or resolution plan for john koskinen's impeachment was introduced in house and accuse them of obstructing a congressional investigation into allegations that the irs targeted conservative groups
before the 2010 and 2012 election to the judiciary committee has taken no action and the treasury secretary has vigorously defended him. artest's the 48th irs commissioner. history has included positions as the president of youth soccer foundation, deputy mayor and administrative the district of columbia, acting ceo freddie mac and chairman of the presidential y2k or. it's also and the private sector for two decades. no amount of virus trouble is going to keep john koskinen and a bad mood this week. is a super fan of the duke basketball team and instant see aa a for the files as we can get ladies and gentlemen, please extend a warm national press club welcome to john koskinen. [applause] >> thanks to much for that warm welcome. after the description of what's going on at the irs in my job i be thinking, this is a good time
to leave. but i'm committed to being here and to the into my term, which expires november of next year. it's always fun to come however the appreciate being invited back to speak here in the middle of tax season. you've already heard our public service announcement that the end is here. so we'll all of you have filed. i'm also always intrigued with the deserts. i actually exchanged my cookie because i had the big and i just didn't think that was appropriate. much more appropriate was i have the dollar. but i also appreciate being here during march madness, because if i were speaking here today i'd be spending a lot of money can figure out how to get to anaheim for a particular game tonight that shall remain otherwise nameless. as a way of showing like where did i really love to keep down to a minimum the reminders that were taxes are due pretty soon. even my wife is tired of hearing
about how close we are to april 18. but she's a good trooper and an issue with those on the podium again this year, and getting to my fun filled 27 months as the irs commissioner wouldn't have been possible without the strong support, which i greatly appreciate. [applause] and i never disputed the notion that she is indeed the better half of this partnership. [inaudible] all right, that must be my daughter, cheryl. [laughter] that said, i'm delighted to be speaking once again to a room that includes a number of journalists. in fact, there are enough reports are that i begin to wonder a little whether that's a presidentiapresidential candidag somewhere in the building it. reporters asked me a lot of questions all the time, and believe it or not i enjoyed answering them because it gives me an opportunity to explain to the press and the public what
we're trying to accomplish at the irs, and especially what we're doing to improve the tax system and taxpayer service. one of my favorite question so far is what i got last month during an interview when a reporter asked me, what does the public not understand or appreciate about the irs that you learned while you've been here? it was a great question, and at the time i had to get a quick answer. so i talked about our dedicated employees at all the work they do to help people to file their returns and to be on time with it. but that question caused me to wonder what i would say on the subject if i had a captive audience for an hour. i will pause for just a minute in case anybody would like to take the opportunity to leave before i continue. but now that i've been irs commissioner for a little more than two years, i've come to recognize there are a number of things taxpayers don't know or focus on about the agency. i know the irs is not anyone's favorite government institution,
and will probably never win a popular to contest, especially during an election year. in fact, in a recent poll that came out earlier this week, i'd even -- id venture that 12% of taxpayers like vladimir putin better than the irs. but don't look for a shot of me on cnn without a shirt riding a horse. [laughter] obviously we are the nation's tax collector, but that's not the whole picture. i believe the public needs to have a clear idea of how important the irs is to the nation into taxpayers. people also need to know the challenges we faced in moving our agency into the future. in other words, i wish everyone could see firsthand the irs the icy and have come to know and appreciate over this time of my tenure. first, let me begin where i was during the interview, focusing on our workforce. in all of my years leading organizations in the public and private sectors i can honestly
say that no group of people i've worked with has been more dedicated to their mission than the employees of the internal revenue service. i've also been amazed by the number of people who spent entire careers serving the public as irs employees. let me give you one example. when i went to visit our detroit office a while back i met angelo francisca, a revenue agent who is retiring after 60 years with the agency. 60 years of service. .. he really believed in public service and back to me was a great indication of dedication. but we see this across the irs
when people come to work at the agency they stay because they love their work and the opportunity to provide service. another i want to mention is sitting here at the head table. he's been with the irs for 40 years. bill is a good example of people we often see at the irs that come into the agency and then develop careers doing something very different than they did when they first started out. bill began by carrying the bag switch in shorthand as for working in the field as a revenue officer. these are the people that actually collect past due taxes. this led him into the communications area where he's putting technical tax information into plain english for taxpayers and is scheduled to retire in june and i'm delighted to have the opportunity to have him here to honor his service to the irs and the nation. a
[applause] angelo and bill are two terrific public servant seemed typical of our workforce. without such dedicated employees the irs couldn't do its important job every year and that's delivering a smooth season. for most people there only interaction in possibly in the u.s. government each year is to file their tax returns and in most cases receive a refund. to the average person the irs may seem like a vending machine you you could return in, push a button and out comes the refund. i've tried to remind congress and the public as it is a lot more complicated processing 150 million individual tax returns and issuing refunds is an automatic and it doesn't happen by accident. it happens because the commitment, expertise and attitude of the workforce. to illustrate my point in going to check up with people on the room anonymously of course but
consider this your chance to engage in audience participation by show of hands how many of you have already filed your tax return? very impressive. you are in good company. we've already received more than 80 million individual tax returns so far. now of those that filed the return how many are claiming the refund? also pretty difficult. how many of you have gotten your refund already. okay onto ask whether you spend it all. [laughter] so far this year we've already issued more than 65 million refunds out of the 80 million returns the process for the total of almost $190 billion. last question, if you receive a refund to the economist and 21 days or three weeks? if so you're like most people because of the increased efforts we put forth to stop identity theft and refund fraud against
criminals around the world they still issue 90% of the refunds in 21 days or less. i should pause and think about those amazing numbers and if we are doing our job right the average person won't notice how much work it takes to make things go smoothly like issuing millions of refunds and another thing that has impressed me since i arrived is the amount of time and effort and resources that the tivo to assist taxpayers almost 40% of the budget goes to help comply with the law by providing critical services and investing in taxpayer friendly technology for example this year we've already had 248 million hits on the website, irs .gov and indians are more than 8 million calls this filing season seeking help for answers to their questions. something else that gets overlooked along the lines is the amount of effort we put into
protecting the taxpayer data. safeguarding taxpayers to the growing problem of identity theft is one of our top priority is so much so that about a year ago we convened a security summit to bring together the private sector tax industry of the states and irs so we could form a partnership joining forces against the threat of identity theft and refund fraud. all of us understood in the private sector can the the estate tax commissioners over the iss -- irs we couldn't deal with the problem on our own if we were going to be successful. since then this partnership has focused our joint efforts on making sure that the tax filing experience would be safe and secure during this filing season and beyond. over the course of a year we put in place new protections including certifications when you actually log into file the
return which is a hugestep for taxpayers and tax administration and its getting a better defense against criminals trying to use stolen taxpayer information. and those of you that already filed with talk software may have noticed there were new requirements to access your accounts but the other safeguards were invisible for taxpayers but they are all invaluable to us because they will help us do a better job of protecting everyone earning this tax filing season. but while they've made progress we also came to realize we were missing an important partner in this, the taxpaying public. so with the strong support of the members of the security summit, we launched the taxes, security is together initiative to raise awareness about things people can do to protect themselves and avoid becoming victims of identity theft. many of the steps we talked
about in this regard are basic and common sense but we all know someone who may be technologically challenged one way or another and given that 150 million households by your duty to -- file tax returns each year the chances someone is clicking on a link they shouldn't come as skipping a computer security update leaving them vulnerable to hackers. that's why having the public's help on this effort will greatly strengthen and improve the new tools we are putting in place to stop the crime of identity theft. another answer to the question people may not think about or appreciate is the role in providing revenue for the nation. as i said a moment ago, people think of the irs simply as the tax collector but what does that really mean? the irs brings in about 92% of all federal federal revenue to fund the operations of the government. we collect 50 to 60 billion through the enforcement activities and another
3.3 trillion comes in from people who voluntarily file returns and pay what they owe year in me and year out. one of the interesting things i learned about the organization is how efficient your collecting those revenues and i will show you what i mean. okay everyone did you find the envelopes on your chair that looked like this i'm sure you follow the instructions that said do not open until commissioner explains comes to the commissioner is about to explain. if you don't have these come ask your neighbor what he did with yours. [laughter] now if this were in the television situation in your industry legal audience for the ellen degeneres show you could have hoped or expected or supposed the envelope might post something interesting like the key to a new car. remember this is the irs.
but if you open opened up your envelope, what did you see? thirty-five cents. that's not enough to mail a letter these days. mine shine actually and before anybody calls for an investigation into the use of taxpayer funds let me assure you that they come from the media staff and i want to thank all of them and their children. [laughter] for emptying their cookie jars and looking behind the sofa cushions at home to allow us to collect the 35 cents to everybody. let me show what the irs does with that money. i will give you back as 100-dollar bill. how many of you would take the deal? everybody. what could be a better deal? that's what you get with the irs. it may sound like a magic trick
but it's the result of a good efficient tax administration if you add up all the work we do in the tax system helping taxpayers sending out notices conducting audits and everything else it costs about 35 cents to collect $100 in federal revenue i think that it's a pretty good deal for the american public. it is an even better deal when you put it into context, and other facts that gets overlooked as the u.s. is much more efficient as a tax collection agencies in the agencies in virtually every country in the world according to statistics by the organization for the economic closing development. the average member company spends almost twice as much as the united states to collect a dollar of revenue this includes countries that germany, france and the united kingdom, canada and australia select costs about 35 cents if congress were to give the 1 billion-dollar increase requested in the
presidents budget for fiscal year 2017, that means we would be able to do even more if they were able to fund the presidents budget we estimated estimate the additional enforcement actions we take in the plan would yield $64 billion over the ten year budget window that has come out to about $6 billion a year. keep in mind i'm not talking about new taxes. this is money that is already owed him not collected during staffing shortages. so $6 billion. it's hard to picture that amount of money, but let's try. mighty research staff in their spare time tell me that a stack of 100, 10,000 is less than half an inch high. you'll note we do not have a real-life example real life example of what that looks like that if you multiply that stack outcome a stack of $6 billion of 100-dollar bills would be higher
than the length of 60 football fields. they don't go just to the major programs we hear about all the time like social security or national defense. they fund other activities and programs many of us take for granted but wouldn't want to lose things like maintaining our beautiful national parks and ensuring the safety of the food we eat coming guarantees on loans to small businesses and upkeep of the nation's highways and bridges. all of this is captured in the quote from the supreme court justice oliver wendell holmes which is described to the irs headquarters in dc and justice holmes said the taxes pay for the civilized society. the irs had to absorb the funding cuts since 2010 and the budget for the year is about $900 million below what it was 6 million years ago when 2010.
as a result we expect the workforce to shrink by another two to 3,000 employees which will bring us to a total of 17,000 full-time employers lost through attrition since the year 2000, not 2010. they've been felt across the irs for irs for example the compliance programs suffered as a result of underfunding. a portion of the workforce that has been lost since 2010 includes over 5,000 enforcement personnel. these are people that perform collection activities as well as the special agents and criminal investigation division when they investigated the refund fraud and other major tax crimes. as you might imagine the staffing losses translated into a steady decline in the number of individual audits over the
past six years. last year we completed the fewest in a decade plus the rate of 2015 was the lowest it's been since 2004 and the future audit because of the funding constraints will continue this year. not surprisingly the audit revenue continued to decline as well. the collection results suggest that cutting the budget of the government is forgoing more than $5 billion a year and additional enforcement revenue just to achieve the budget savings a few hundred million dollars it is costing us $5 billion a year and weakening the compliance programs they also predict risk for the system of voluntary compliance. there's also a deeper issue here and it goes to the heart of the tax system. i believe the taxpayer service and enforcement must be seen as two sides of the claim and they mentioned a minute ago that over $3 trillion comes in every year as the result of people meeting
their tax obligations under the law without being asked even if the irs we don't dilute ourselves into thinking that people enjoy paying the taxes. the recent poll i just mentioned showed a 27% of people would be willing to get a tattoo to avoid paying taxes. [laughter] as an official announcement i would like to advise you my tattoo has been totally unaffected on that score. [laughter] no matter what your tattoo says, you still over the money. but tattoos or not, people keep paying their taxes because they believe in the fairness of the system. if people begin to think that many other people are not paying their taxes and their fair share would be cheap they are not going to get caught they are just frustrated because they can't get the help they need to file their taxes in this system will be put at risk. when that happens you are talking about losing real money.
consider that a drop in the compliance rate translated into the revenue loss of over $30 billion a year or $300 billion over the usual ten year measuring period. when we do get funding i want to emphasize they will continue to put it to good use as evidence congress back in december approved a 290 million-dollar additional boost to the funding for fiscal 2016. the funds were designated from improving the service and protecting against identity theft and a strengthening cybersecurity all top priority for the irs as well as the congress. this was the first time they received significant additional funding and it's a step in the right direction. to illustrate how helpful the additional funding has been, we used a portion to hire a little over 1,000 extra temporary employees to help improve our service on the phones as a result we are already seeing
service improvements this season and so far the level of service on a toll-free line is over 70%. the average for the entire filing season will probably be at or above 65% of the improvement over the somewhat miserable level of service last year. once the seasonal toys are gone however, we can expect it to drop significantly simply because we don't have the funding to keep them on longer and the average for the year will be in the 47 to 50% which is still a significant improvement over last year. but we want everybody to understand this isn't where we think we ought to be or where the taxpayers would like us to be. if we receive the fiscal 2017 budget request, the level of service next year for the entire year with the 75%. i should mention another critical challenge that has been made worse by the budget situation.
last year when i spoke to the press club i sent a large portion of the workforce would be eligible for retirement soon and the number of employees was dwindling to the point they were facing their own version of a baby bust. so i'm here today to provide an update and i will tell you the demographics look no better than they did a year ago and some actually look worse. we expect more than 40% of the workforce will be able to retire in 2019. looking at the other end of the spectrum i said they had only 650 employees under age 25. since then that number dropped to about 200 that is out of the workforce at 85,000. things have gotten so bad that we worry about the under 25 group may end up on the endangered species list. and especially for those on behalf of those for whom age 25 is a bit of a foggy memory let me say i know how important it
is for any organization to have workers with institutional knowledge. why worry about is we don't have enough young workers in the pipeline. they will have great difficulty developing the next group of theaters it needs five or ten years down the road. ultimately, continued underfunding threatens to erode its effectiveness. my concern is we are getting dangerously close to that point and at a minimum i don't want anyone to see after my term is over that they didn't understand the seriousness of the situation. they can continue to ignore if they so choose but at least they won't be able to say they were not warned but i don't want to give anyone the impression that we are trying to go back in time. it's important for people to understand that the goal isn't to get enough funding as we did in 2010 with the same number of employees. we are not going back to that stage although it is clear we need more staff.
what we need to be doing is looking forward to a new improved way of doing business. if you attended last year's dinner you heard me talk about our intention to move the irs forward into the future and improve the taxpayer experience driven in part by business needs. consider the cost 40 to $60 for the taxpayer person and less than 1 dollar to provide that assistance online so we have to take a fresh look at how we provide the best possible experience in response to the taxpayer expectations and demands while not losing sight and providing one-on-one help for people that need and desire it. what we are talking about is a new outgrowth of modernization made over many years. modernizations that i might add are mostly invisible to the average taxpayer that have revolutionized their interactions in the revenue service.
a great example of this is the customer account data engine the first phase was put in place a few years ago. it now allows us to process payer information daily instead of on a weekly basis so we generate the faster refunds, notices and updates for better customer service. we converted the old data stored on the tape drives with $250 million of taxpayers accounts and more than 1.2 billion individual tax modules to modernize and secure the database protects payer accounts and data models. this is transforming the tax administration and paid in a way for digital self-service for taxpayers. don't take my word. the gao is so impressed in its development that it removed the systems modernization programs from the high-risk list of couple years ago citing it as the reason that we've been on
the high-risk list since 1995 and many insiders at the agency thought we would never be removed from it. we can process the systems electronically so we can accept the return from snl to the acknowledgment faster than we were ever able to do in the past and to give you an idea on the busiest davis or even in the filing season the systems accepted 4.4 million tax returns with nearly 450,000 accepted in one hour at the peak that's 125 returns accepted every second. changes like this don't come about without the expertise and the know-how to make them happen. in our case we were fortunate to have a guiding hand of the chief technology officer whom you've already met who was here with us today.
terry has overseen the modernized file and other projects as well. it's fair to say we've had a renaissance in the technology because of the leadership. i am delighted to be able to salute you and your team today for your infinite patience, dedication and meeting the never-ending challenge of improving our it systems even in the face of ongoing funding costs. [applause] kerry is also symbolic of a change at the irs when they reorganized the agency in 1998, molly kurz recognized to bring in the best mind from the private sector and help modernize the irs agency technology, congress gave us a special tool called a streamlined critical pay authority. the most significant part is that it lets us recruit and hire
technical and talented experts as if we were a private sector company otherwise we have to tell a great candidate we want to hire you and if you will sit still for three to six months while we process you through the system, we can make this work. needless to say it, the cyber experts and those interested in online services have a lot of competing opportunities that don't come with those limitations and challenges. the authority expired at the end of the fiscal year 2013. it's seriously harms our ability to recruit and the best it and cybersecurity talent out there or immediately ten of the last 14 people on the authority are senior it executives who turn into pumpkins by this time next year when there terms run out. kerry himself, his term will expire in a little over three months if it isn't renewed and
one of the cybersecurity directors just accepted another position outside of the government rather than waiting to see what happens. this has real world implications for the irs and the government because to have one of the largest and most sensitive databases in the world. congress wants to help them, one of the best things it can do is renew the special authority. next on the journey to the future is to improve the obligations in the point where taxpayers can do business for the irs online in a matter that is fast, secure and convenient. however as we improve the experience we understand that the responsibility to serve the needs of all taxpayers. we recognize there will always be taxpayers who don't have access or simply prefer not to conduct their transactions online. we remain committed and dedicated to providing the services all taxpayers need in whatever channel or form of communication they desire.
for example why we continue to offer more web-based services, taxpayers will always be able to call the toll-free toll-free hotlines or obtain assistance if that is what they prefer. in fact improving the online experience for those who want to deal with us that way will free up resources to make it easy for those that want to call or visit in person. of the biggest challenges is making the taxpayer's online accounts properly protected. the concern is that cyber criminals are becoming increasingly sophisticated and global in their activities. they continually find new methods of stealing personal information and gaining access to even more sensitive data van in the past on a regular basis. for that reason we will need to ensure our authentication protocols to become more sophisticated for authentication we are moving beyond asking for information that used to be only known to individuals but now in many cases as readily available
to criminal organizations that have stolen it from other sources and i would note that those sources were outside of the internal revenue service but there is a delicate balance. we need to provide the strongest possible processes to protect the taxpayer data without making it almost impossible for legitimate taxpayers to safely access their own data and services online. so you can see there are interesting challenges but it's an exciting journey especially for someone in the tax business. we bb the end result will be a more practical, effective and efficient approach to tax administration and the irs will be able to do anything better an even better job of helping people meet their obligations easily. that's our story. i know i speak for the entire workforce when i say that i look forward to continuing to an improve. i believe he was one more announcement if you haven't done
your taxes yet remember 18th will be here before you know it. so i enjoy answering questions and i'm happy to answer as many as i can on the time remaining. thank you. [applause] >> and i would like to announce the chances that he's getting back to the 100-dollar bill are fairly slim. [laughter] i would like to thank you for the 35 cents and the opportunity to mention the national press club journalism institute as a tax-deductible organization. >> and if you make the contribution you do not need an acknowledgment. >> i also won't apologize for butchering your name to be a pilot for which this year's audit. [laughter] i tell people it took me four years to learn so you have time. my first question, you mentioned
this in a numerous budget cuts and fewer audits won't vibrate all costing the government revenue and ultimately making it more expensive to collect taxes? >> it is our ultimate concern. the experience we did a lot of research on this and audits while we are a tax compliance society is primarily because people think the system is fair but it's also cause they know we have a lot of information. if we have withholding information we have the money already and we have third party information. it's about 98%. if we don't have the withholding would ask for the money that we have third party information about 92%. if we don't have the money and we don't have the information can become clients range is 50% so it does remind you that it's important and why i say that taxpayer service and enforcement are two sides of the claim we need to ensure the system is
fair and people understand if you are trying to become compliant we want to work with you. if you are trying to cheat, we will be coming after you. is it to the extent people begin to feel everybody isn't paying their fair share because people let the country club where the water cooler are saying i did this and nobody showed up or because they think that maybe when the compliance rate starts to drop another 1% drop is about 81% when you add everything together. the 1% drop offs 30 billion but we will never notice the 1%. it will be a little while before people say it doesn't appear the revenues are tracking the way they used to and when the drop is two or 3% you are talking about $90 billion a year and more importantly once the psychology changes, why should i be the only one paying my full share when nobody else is and you then begin to look a lot more like greece and italy and other places where they plummet.
we funded the entire government and either the deficit will continue to go up or we will have more service cuts across the board. the fbi found no criminal intent into political targeting investigation they did find that many people did things wrong. did you find anything wrong and was anybody disciplined? >> the chain of command is all gone and they were gone promptly so you can start the acting commissioner left and people were down to the senior executive level of the levels left so i think there has been accountability people did leave. i said from the start but it's
clear there was a significant management failure. applicants shouldn't have to wait to get a response from the internal revenue service and when there is that kind of backlog and that kind of problem, the problems should be identified and it should be known the larger the problem the further up the chain of command should go so one of the things i tried to do with a strong supporter of the senior executives at the irs is as we created an enterprise risk management organization to give every employee to understand that they should view themselves as a risk manager and understand if somebody makes a mistake as i've said it is if it is a problem that is my problem and if somebody made a mistake it is my mistake. the critical thing is to make sure that we know about it because the only problem we can't fix is when we don't know about. so what i said as is it would be terrific to say we will never have a problem and nobody will ever make a mistake that you have heard but you have heard about the 150 million taxpayers
we deal with it we have 80,000 employees and the world's most complicated tax code so it is illusory to think we won't have a problem that if we do have a problem where someone makes a mistake you will find it quickly and we will be transparent about it. we've accepted the recommendations and accepted all of the recommendations to the bipartisan report to the center of the finance committee and to ensure that it doesn't happen again. it won't be lets fix be what sticks it into lets fix it in the picture doesn't happen again. you mentioned the completed tax codes.
tax policy is the domain of the congress and the white house and the treasury we do tax administration but as i tell people we start talking about the tax policy. in the 20 years that i spent in the private sector on corporate boards and running large companies and simplify the tax code it would be in everybody's interest. i try to make it clear all my meetings on the hill. the technical assistance if we are going to move one way or another, simplify one way or another what would the administrative impact be.
there is a growing coalition in the congress and around congress and around the country in favor of the tax reforms some people are looking at it from the standpoint of international or the corporations and people understand you can't just deal with corporations without dealing with so-called pass-through remedies and the businesses are run as partnerships or subchapter s. corporations where they don't pay corporate tax or if you fixed the corporate system you are leaving everybody else on the same boat as individual taxpayers but i've been intrigued to some extent. there's a growing consensus that something has to be done with regards to collect taxes, that is doing away with various deductions one way or another those are policy issues that the congress and the administration now in the next administration
need to deal with and we are prepared to be supported from the tax administration standpoint in the direction anybody wants to go. how many millions are lost and fraudulent tax returns or refunds stolen. you don't know what you don't know. so many years ago there is an estimated that slightly over $5 billion was going on with fraudulent returns. ironically we have been making significant progress every year since the whole problem exploded since 2010 and 2012 so the irony is if we make more progress at the same time it's become a more visible problem because it is cumulative and someone that has returned this year year in members into talks about it we now have 2.7 million people that
we sent identity protection pins to. even if it is in the billions whether it is two or 3 billion. if it is for the taxpayer that is legitimately filed a return and discovered somebody has stolen their personal identification information and now filed before them and we can't accept the return until we work through the process so the goal was to protect the taxpayers and the fiscal revenues of the government via they are both equally important. what we put in place is thanks to the systems we've been developing, we have now depending on how we ask well
over 200 filters in the systems that look at every return to see what the anomaly is and what it is that we are if we stop over 4 million suspicious returns last year as we go forward but one of the reasons i reached out to the tax preparer's and the estate tax commissioners as i said it becomes clear we have to get our hands around the entire system. we don't see the taxpayers when they are flailing. they fight with software they have a line of sight to which the computers are coming from and how long you were on the computer. we are collecting from the private sector that we are sharing with and more importantly or equally important we are now in real-time sharing information about the suspicious patterns or activity. private sectors are just as concerned about protecting taxpayers identities we are not
ensuring that particular taxpayers we are collecting information and sharing about the patterns of the filing suspicious concerns that we have and we do that regularly now in a way that we have never done before so it is important for us to continue to improve the systems and it's important to build upon the partnership. we agreed we are going to do that. it's not a partnership where we are giving them instructions that is where we are jointly. one of the biggest discussions is the need for additional funding is we've got good about responding and reacting to the criminals are doing next. so where are they going next. that's why last summer we begin to talk with private sector
partners as we get better at closing down the system one of the places for them to go was to hack into and attack preparers as if they can't get the data from us they can get the data with 100 or 200 clients they have all of that information and sure enough, we've all been working together and they've been increasing their security but we have incidences and examples of being hacked the great thing about the partnership is as soon as anyone discovers that either as a preparer or we have a state that said this looks odd that we are getting strange refund requests from a single preparer we are able to go back and discovered to their surprise and dismay but it meant we could protect all the other taxpayers in that account and log all of those accounts, so we need to be in the position where we can anticipate where people are going next. the reason criminals wanted to get into the transcript application wasn't to get more
data. they have everything they they needed about individuals and they wanted to get a copy of last year's return it would look more logical and they were more sophisticated at picking out the anomaly. the site was because as they stop the returns they were discovering that more and more were being stopped for the next thought is okay how do we get to the pin. one of the things mourning the private sector companies one of the fishing expeditions for an e-mail to go to the human capital or payable department looking like it is from the cio i need the following data and information on the following employees or all of the employees in a number of companies discover they've given
away other information on their employees thinking about the ceo and instead went to the organized crime all around the world. so there's never been and it certainly isn't just a problem it is a problem of the digital economy with criminals well-funded, very sophisticated as you push it down here comes over there. they've had some data breaches that have been disclosed. one of the things is to be as transparent as we can because if there is an issue the tax payers are aware of it. i would stress there hasn't been a breach in the data protecting it although we knock on wood
because we are attacked over a million times a day. if you have a flash of light aphrodite every time someone attacks the system that would be a break in the system so we are dealing with here seriously and we've gotten this more funding from the congress and we need more funding. but we have had is very sophisticated criminals masquerading as tax payers and getting more and more sophisticated about how they masquerade as a taxpayer to get access to the applications it doesn't get them access into the beta system. the reason they are doing it is to find a way to get around the filters. we had an attack on the pin where again the systems we've been able to put in place and the software allowed us to determine that we have to attack and you could see it as we shut down moving from country to country as the attacks continue to come on so it is an important
question every time we have had one of those problems and in fact we tried to respond to them quickly and publicly sometimes we get yelled at because we don't get a transcript for instance, we saw the problem and looked at it in the last filing season and gave the numbers out if you didn't want the analysis the year before which the ig did there was another set of taxpayers effected so the physician has been a need to let people know as quickly as we can even do though we may not know the final numbers to that obligation as soon as we have the information to let them know >> the treasury secretary wants to limit the end versions. do you have any advice for how to do so? >> if we had advice we would have given it to them by now. the secretary has made it clear that there is a limit to what the irs and the treasury department can do and the
statutory authority. they made it clear that if we are going to deal with the problem ultimately as one of the driving forces we have to revise our tax code as it affects the corporations that deal with everybody. they are still looking at another step or two that we can take. but we have to have legislation. >> this would be the fun question. the presidential candidate said they would like to abolish the irs. i know you probably don't want to weigh in on the presidential contest that is but is that even possible, could one abolish the irs and what repercussions would have been from that?
>> vetra presents what we can do this the frustration of the complexity of the code and how difficult it is for the corporations to work their way through. most people want to be compliant it is the price of democracy that the more difficult you make make it a more complicated you make it and the less sense it makes. last one i saw as we spend $6 billion on individuals filing their taxes. if they don't fight their way through the tax code is stunning to think about area so clearly something needs to be done. we haven't revised tax code were simplified it did 30 years. there are proposals all over the place in the presidential primaries of what to do with the tax code and what to do with the taxes by a sense has been that kind of abolishing shorthand we have to fix the tax code and then people talk about you can
have the flat taxes into the suggestion has been made you can you can do about the return of the postcard or one page into the answer is that certainly would be that somebody still has to read the numbers to make sure they are right and people collect additional taxes if the numbers are not quite right and someone has to collect at $2.3 trillion. most people talk about what's abolish the irs or make it simpler someone who collects the information, audits it and collects the funding. >> another presidential candidate, donald trump, he might have heard of him, said he would like to release the tax return but can't during the audit. to do the candidates have to wait for the audit to be
completed for the tax returns? >> as i said we take seriously our obligation to protect the taxpayer information. what they are doing with us is private and is protected by the statute so i can't comment on the particular situation. what i have said is that i'm dealing with some of the tax return is their own possession and they could do what they would like. the president are audited every year. anybody running for president chemical bro to having their tax returns audited every year. what are they doing to file returns and claims for about $1 billion of the refund is off the table every year? >> its every year we try to get as much visibility if you have a part-time job or don't get paid
a lot you might not have an obligation to file with many people forget that we have withholding taxes paid. you have three years to catch up with that and every year we publish the amount that's not collected and we go by the states -- >> we are leaving this look at the future of the irs to go live to the pentagon for the statement from the defense secretary ashton carter about isis leadership. >> good morning. thank you all for being here. i want to start by reader rating that our thoughts and prayers remain with all of those affected by the bombing in brussels. as you know the tragedy has hit
our military community as well in our hearts go out to the injured airman and family. like paris, brussels is a strong reminder of why we need to hasten the defeat of isil wherever it exists at the world. the united states is as committed as ever to our friends and allies. our enemies are one and the same. and together, we continue to do more and more to bring the full weight of our vast military capabilities to their accelerating the defeat of isil. after the chairman and i spoke with our commanders this morning, let me update you on some new actions we've taken in just the last few days. first, we are systematically illuminating the isil's cabinet. indeed, the u.s. military killed several key isil terrorists this
week including the isil senior leaders serving as a finance minister and who also was responsible for some external affairs and plots. he was a well-known terrorist within isil's ranks dating back to its earliest iteration as al qaeda in iraq when he worked under zarqawi as the liaison for the operations in pakistan the removal of the leader will hamper the organization to conduct operations inside and outside of iraq. this is the second leader that we successfully targeted this month. after confirming the death of the so-called minister of war a short time ago. a few months ago when i said we were going to go after the financial infrastructure.
now we have taken out the leader that oversees all of the funding for the operations hurting their ability to pay fighters and higher recruits. as i said our campaign plan is first and foremost to collapse the isil's parents to murder in iraq and syria focusing on the power centers, raqqah. >> they recently took the town and compelled the counterattacks and ultimately severed the main artery between syria in northern iraq. as a result it has become much harder for the leaders and forces to travel between raqqa and mosul. i'm pleased to see that they have moved from their staging base and are advancing into new positions as part of the early
stages of operations to collapse the control over mosul. the u.s. marines we have sent where the staff sergeant cardin gave his life are providing artillery fire at the request of the iraqis to help support the advance against the enemy and protect their forces. so both in syria in iraq while we we are seeing important steps to shape what will become crucial battles in the months to come. as our partners move forward we continue to bring relentless pressure on the commanders in mosul and we have taken a significant number of actions this week, one of which i've already mentioned that second, we targeted abu sara one of the top leaders in iraq. next we targeted a number of associates directly involved in external plotting and training. and these precise actions came
after recent strikes attacked a quantity of improvised explosive devices and bomb equipment that could have been used against the partners headed for mosul. we believe that these actions have been successful and have done damage. as the chairman noted earlier this week, the momentum of the campaign is now clearly on our side. the united states military will continue to work intensively with our coalition partners to build on this progress as our counterparts throughout the government worked to defend the homeland at the same time. one final note before we turn to questions, yesterday i spoke with my counterpart, the deputy defense minister. we agreed to convene the u.s. gulf cooperation council defense ministerial on april 20 in
riyadh. ahead i had a president who promised effect participation in the gcc summit the following day. this would be an important forum to build on the counter of last month and to strengthen the defense partnerships including by reviewing and discussing the way ahead for the joint regional defense initiatives that we all committed to during the u.s. gcc camp david summit last may. the chair chair man and i are now prepared to take your questions and i have to say we have limited time to do that because we have something else we both need to do upstairs but we need to do that and i'm going to ask you also please respect the fact we are not going to go into any further details about how our coalition conducted the operations i mentioned earlier. any more of that flies in a few broad a veto -- future operations of the campaigns, so
we are going to ask you to be re- streamed in that regard as we intend to be as well. on the attacks in brussels this week and the two americans that were lost and also to recognize by all accounts a great leader that we lost last weekend in the operations in iraq. >> mr. secretary i. know you said you didn't want to go into any more details in syria as the senior leader and more broadly can you talk a little bit about we saw a lot of the leaders over the years where number three was every six months or so. what did you think that this suggests particularly those involving the left and does it
mean anything or do they simply just replace them? on the question of leadership, striking leadership is necessary as the leaders can be replaced, however these leaders have been around for a long time and they are senior and experienced. it is an important objective and achieves an important result that we will continue to go after their leadership and other aspects of the capabilities. so it is necessary and important. thanks. >> the marines this week in support of the offense of operation is this something that
we will see more of do you think as time goes on and can you talk about the accelerants if this is the key part of what you want to see the military do more of over the next several months? >> we talked about setting the conditions and facilitating the forces into staging to begin to operate and as they've announced it has begun. we put the battery there to support the americans that are there advising the iraqi forces and also in the position to support from my perspective this is no different than aviation fired we've been delivering this but it's certainly no different and support in the support that we've provided to the iraqis and with regard to further accelerants, we do expect that
there will be increased capably provided to set the conditions for the operations in mosul, and those decisions haven't been made yet but we certainly do expect more of the kind of things that we saw in romani that will be tailored for different operations that the primary force fighting will be the iraqi security forces and in a position to provide typical for these to make them successful. >> there seems to be more of a ground combat role than we have seen before. >> know it's not we have the fires in other places as examples we've used in the past so this isn't a fundamental shift to support the forces. this happens to be the most appropriate tool in that particular location. >> he was in the iraqi prison up until 2012, released shortly
after the forces were pulled out of 2011. do you see this as a cautionary tale for releasing the prisoners already caught and captured? a >> and numbered of them were in detention back in the former years including the head of isil himself so it is important that these are people that have experienced and that have shown dedication over the years and that's why it's so important that we eliminate them.
>> we are not reluctant. what we track is the number that are in our force commitment level, that's 38 under. this is nothing inconsistent with the last 15 years in terms of people in and out on temporary duty, people in direct support of the embassy. those have not been counted. consistency in the way we've been counting people that's been goingon for the last 15 years. we have 3800 correctly in support. when work units rotate you don't double count. it is a unit of 200 has been replaced by unit of 200 they both happened to be on the ground at the same time we don't count that s-400. that has encountered gives our force management level. the accounting has been consistent. we are not denying this more people than 3800. you got the numbers from us but
in terms of what we count, that's in accordance with the direction we have been given. the 3800. >> -- >> no, i didn't say 5000. some number of of that as people in other categories that don't count against 3800. >> i like to follow up on a question about the marines and that firebase. unlike the previous u.s. military combat positions and fire support this is an independent base. these are u.s. military only, and, but all indications, they are not just defensive but in this latest movement iraq the forces they provided fire support for offense of operations against isis. so why is this not the first footprint of the u.s. combat
ground operation in iraq? >> the reason they're in a different basis simply a function of geometry. they are designed to support forces in the area. the artillery cannot be co-located with ground forces and provide effective fire support. so this position was selected because of the geometry necessary to support that particular location. with regard to providing support to iraqi offenses capability, to me there's no inconsistency between what his artillery unit did and what our aviation support is doing every single day. i don't draw a distinction. we've said we're providing enabling support to include combined arms capability to iraqi forces as they conduct operations which isexactly what this unit was doing. >> all indications this was a pretty permanent position right now. that after a short period of time u.s. army personnel are going to replace a26 marines there, and it still is all indications that the u.s.
military is directly involved in the ground operations with the u.s., with the iraqis biggest quickly add even since last week as the iraqis have started to consolidate their positions, the situation on the ground is situation on the ground is changed in terms of what the iraqis are in relationship to support the defensive support their providing to our artillery unit. that's already changed through the course of the week. in all honesty i just cannot see this being inconsistent with everything we've been doing the last several months. >> let me add to that, what we will be doing in the coming months. what we will be doing in coming months, this is our approach, to eliminating isil from mosul. iraqi security forces are the ones who are carrying out the us all. the development of the assault a we are helping them. that's been our approach and we will continue to do that. started in ramadi, continue going up to mosul here.
[inaudible] >> pashtun u.s. american ground forces closer to the front lines as the battle towards mosul -- >> one thing i need to clear fight. this position is behind what's known as the forward line of troops for the peshmerga and kurds so it's by no means out in front on its own. secondly, what i would say a bunch of questions about the future is we have a series of recommendations that we will be discussing with the president in the coming weeks to further enable our support for the iraqi security forces. against the secretary and i both believe there will be an increase to the u.s. forces in iraq in the coming weeks. that decision has been made. you alluded to decisions made about army units replacing marine units. all that is pre-decisional. there's no -- it will be decided in the context of a broader issue that the secretary will bring to the president again focus on what is it we need to do to maintain minimum campaign
in which specifically do we need to do operations in mosul. >> back on -- would you say this was in transit and whether or not this was a u.s. raid or was it a drone strike or -- >> i'm not going to say where and how it was done, carla. i'm simply not going to do that. but what i will say this is consistent with our strategy there which is to put pressure on isil every single way we can from the leadership which we discussed previously right down to supporting local forces on the ground, and with respect to operations in iraq, i want to make clear and reiterate that everything we do is with the consultation and approval of the iraqi government.
>> can ask you the same about other serif. was that an airstrike? >> again i'm not going to talk about how we -- you know we have a number of ways we can do that and i'm going to ask for your forbearance there. we will be disciplined about that. >> i don't think he wants to add anything. >> -- the europeans need to step up their intelligence sharing. i know that several people who were part of the brussels attacks have been on our terror watch list would not have been let into the united states. are we increasing our sharing of our intelligence? did which are all that information with the belgian? >> i can speak to the military to mitary level. i was speaking broader when i spoke to congress. in other words, intelligence agencies, law enforcement and so forth. from military to military perspective we have significant
increase our information intelligence sharing over the last few months every in specific locations we bring together a number of coalition partners to do just that. we think over 100 countries have foreign fighters in series and a right. using the numbers that exceed 35,000. i wouldn't put a high degree of confidence we have those exact numbers but they teach in order of magnitude of what problems we're dealing with. in my judgment and less all the countries affected by these foreign fighters are cooperating at the law enforcement level, the intelligence community level and the military level, we are not that he didn't have the kind of picture necessary to take effective action against these individuals prior to attacks like the one we saw in brussels. >> just to reinforce what the chairman just said in getting back to the fight in syria and iraq, i should also mention that a number of our european partners to include belgium in the last month and a half after
i had them ministerial, counter i so miniscule and brussels, have increased their contributions. the belgians did that, too. that's a different from homeland security law enforcement and intelligence side of things. but in the fight in iraq and syria i wanted in the belgians have intensified their role in view of what happened in brussels. that's worth noting. >> secretary, in light of brussels and the attacks happened in paris, as you look at a depth of this person and other cases leaders in syria and you tie some of this together? do you see these plots being directed from isis leadership? do you, for example, do you think this man, do she said he had external affairs plotting an album, could could he have been come up with the involved in the paris of brussels sells?
other -- training in how to make bombs? what are the links you are seeing between isis in transit and he sells emerging -- >> i can't confirm this individually anything to do with the brussels attack specifically but the general phenomenon you're describing is correct and it's the kind of influence are very. they range all the way from fighters who have trained in and participate in isil operations in iraq and syria returning to their countries of origin and that's where these many foreign fighters that the chairman was talking about are concerning to us. right to ones who are recruited and trained by such individuals that have not themselves been in iraq in syria, or been in contact with isil forces directly, right back to the who are simply inspired by can maybe
get some sort of general instructions from isil or otherwise self-motivated and self radicalized. so there's an entire spectrum that our law enforcement and counterintelligence colleagues are dealing with. >> weekly, yet we see the link between the pair's -- >> one other thing i should say. there's a question that this individual and others we have eliminated have been part of the apparatus of-itis to the isis to recruit and to motivate foreign fighters to both to return from iraq and syria to countries in europe and elsewhere, and also simply by using the internet and other communications to do so. >> so the leaders that you see in a paris and brussels sells, what's your assessment? you think that this cell that has emerged in europe, do you think, and some of them are
going to syria all accounts, do you think they are being directed by isis leadership or is that even a relevant question to ask? being inspired by them enough for them to the expertise, equipment, technology, weapons to carry out these attacks? >> it is a relevant question because if they are directed we want to get of the people and that's what we are doing. and eliminate the people who are directing them. but even if it's just inspiration it still take you back to iraq and syria and the need to eliminate the sources of inspiration, the idea that there can be an islamic state based upon this ideology with a capital m. raqqa. we will eliminate that image that's an important part of eliminating the inspiration even if it's not direction. but the answer to question is that there is both direction and there's inspiration of the various shades in between, and we need to combat them all.
i can't speak to the pari the pd brussels cells, that's a law enforcement matter. my impression is it is a mixture of some who areinspired either by the internet or by a friend or associate or family member who himself to travel to iraq and syria. i think you see that mix in what we already know of the cells involved, pairs and brussels are not going to presume that i know everything the french and belgian law enforcement knows. that's their business and they shook their law enforcement channels. >> you mentioned for months now the progress against isil has been frustrating and slow. you mention the momentum is now clearly on your site. are we at a point where, a turning point, are we seeing signs that isil is beginning to crack? are the offer less resistance?
have we turned a corner in the fight against isil? >> we are shortly gathering momentum and we are saying that momentum is having affect. and we are broadening both the weight in the nature of our attacks on isil. we've learned a great deal and we continue to learn about who is who in isil so we can kill them, about how they get their finances so we can drive that up. -- dry. and the forces we are working with on the ground in both iraq and syria continue to gather strength. because our strategic approach for the re- taking of territory is that help local forces todo so. and juicy both in iraq and the iraqi security forces first with ramadi now with other towns up the euphrates south and with the development of mosul --
envelopment -- gathering momentum with her help, juicy also in -- and juicy also with syria, the example i gave at the top of my statement and taking the town, the key connection between raqqa and mosul, and the idea there is to dissect the tumor a isil into a syrian site and its iraqi site. so in all of these ways we are gathering momentum, broadening both the nature of the tools we're using and the pure weight we arebringing. the sinister or partners as well. >> the only thing i would say is we talk about momentum. but i think it's indisputable whether the amount of ground the isil holds the resources, we started to affect their commitment to go in and negatively. i think we begun to undermine the narrative but there is a lot of work that remains to be done.
and at the same time while isil has not been able to seize ground in the past several months, that hasn't precluded him from conducting terrorist attacks and it hasn't precluded them from conducting operations, develop operations than the conventional operations we saw when they were ceasing territory. i think the momentum is our favor, a lot of reasons for us to be optimistic about the next several months but by no means would i say we're about to break the back of isil about the fight is over. >> and one final note i will make if i may, peter, maybe one thing brussels also reminds us, essential as the military effort is, and confident i am that would we will be successful, gathering momentum on the military campaign, it is necessary but there's a critical law enforcement, intelligence and homeland security ingredient to this.
they are our partners in this fight here and in other countries, and brussels as a reminder that that fight is necessary as well, both to the european countries and any other country potentially affected by the come including our own. and with that let me thank you all very much. >> defense secretary action card updating on the fight against isis, also confirmed u.s. forces have killed the isis finance minister, also the second in command. the los angeles daily times reported today that at least two americans have been confirmed killed in the brussels attack. the u.s. official said friday as secretary of state john kerry visited the stricken city to express condolences.
secretary kerry did not offer specifics a senior official said the families of two americans have been informed of their deaths in the attacks tuesday. the official was not authorized to speak to the matter publicly spoke on condition of anonymity and didn't have further details. the bombings killed 31 and wounded 270. let's look our primetime schedule tonight on the c-span networks.
, my gift to united states was the proudest act of my life. and marshall has been widely praised for transforming the supreme court into what his biographer john edward smith calls a dominant force in american life. >> and unreal america -- >> the role will put the shuttle on its precise heading toward an imaginary target in space. >> the 1981 nasa documentary space shuttle, a remarkable flying machine on the maiden voyage of the space shuttle columbia. sunday morning on road to the white house rewind the 1968 campaign film for republican presidential candidate richard nixon. a note. >> i have decided that i will test my ability to win and my ability to cope with the issues in the fires of the primary and not just in this smoke-filled
room in miami. >> and a panel of authors on the recent book chronicling the mexican-american civil rights from the 1930s-1970s. >> this coalition of labor unions, mexican american civil rights leaders and religious authorities came together to protest the exploitation of the program and, in fact, accelerated congress is a decision to terminate the next year in 1964. i think this was a moment of blossoming for the chicano movement. >> for the complete american history tv weekend schedule go to c-span.org. >> for this year studentcam contest students produced documentaries telling us the issues they want the candidates to discuss. students to was the economy, equality, education and immigration were all top issues. thanks to all of the students
and teachers who competed and congratulations to all the winners. every weekday in april 1 of the top 21 winning entries will air at 6:50 a.m. eastern on c-span. >> earlier this week the house commerce subcommittee looked at the upcoming fcc spectrum auction and possible changes to set-top boxes. testimony from fcc chair tom wheeler during this three-hour hearing. >> if people could take their seats we will get started on this hearing. call the subcommittee on communications and technology order, and welcome our
distinguished panel of chairmen of the federal communications commission commissioners. thank you for being a this pointer good morning, chairman wheeler. commissioners, thank you for joining us. i want to start this morning with two points of personal privilege. first, would you all join me in wishing commissioner clyburn a very joyous and happy birthday today. [applause] it's not every day you turn 30. [laughter] including today. but oh, well. we know you think of it as they present to be here with us today. thank you for your great service to the country and they have many, many more wonderful birthdays ahead. not necessarily celebrated with us. second, today is the last hearing that my good friend of nearly 30 years, and extraordinary counselor, ray baum will serve as member of our committee staff. [applause]
our parents were friends back in 30s, ray and i won back the seats that our fathers had both held, and been defeated in, when we were elected the oregon legislature in 1988. he followed me as majority leader of the oregon house, and then ray went on to serve as a member of the oregon public utility commission, then as its chairman, both appointments by democratic governors. another democratic governor appointed to serve as chairman, and he served as the chair of the state federal-state joint board on universal service as well. really exciting topic if anybody wants to get deeply into, reagan take you there. he's given us more than the five years he committed when i convinced him to come to washington and i hope we all will wish him well as he begins a new journey with the broadcasters. ray, thanks for decades of strong, fair and effective public service for oregonians and all americans. godspeed on your new journey. [applause]
>> mr. chairman? mr. chairman? >> i want you to my friend from california. >> i thank the chairman. we all wish were a the absolute best, because he's giving his best year. is always been a gentleman. is a public policy expert. he has given his all to this committee, and three times what was difficult for him to do that. because he was babbling something in terms of his health, but he never missed a beat. i call that real dedication, dedication to not only our committee and the work and the responsibilities of this committee, but ultimately for the american people. so god bless you, ray. we are going to issue a great deal. thank you for everything that you've done on behalf of all of us. [applause] >> the gentleman from new mexico. >> thank you, mr. chairman. ray, this is a surprise to me
but i also had the honor of working with ray and learning from ray back when he was utility commission and i was on the new mexico commission as well. it's been an honor working with you, ray. many successes and look forward to continued work with you. you are a great, great person and you truly are an asset to america. look forward to learning from you and working with you in your future endeavors. >> thank you. now on to our hearing. we are entering what will most likely be, if tradition holds, the final chapter in the history of this fcc under chairman wheeler's leadership. as the record clearly shows, while we have worked together on many public policy issues, we've also been at odds at times on process and policy. while the commission began with a commitment to reform the agency from within, we know that the commission has implemented only half of recommendations of the 2014 fcc process reform working group. this is why i believe true reforms require changes in law that can transcend any particular chairman or commission. the public deserves no less.
unfortunately, sharp divisions within the commission are widely known. with the rapidly changing communications marketplace, we've never needed this independent agency to work together for the public interest more than now. and i have to admit, there are times when i've expressed my displeasure with the fcc's actions and its failure to adhere to the will and intent of congress. for example, notwithstanding passage of bipartisan legislation requiring that existing jsas be grandfathered from the fcc's controversial revisions to the ownership rules, the fcc's media bureau recently terminated a jsa in spite of this restriction, evoking a strong bipartisan rebuke. and the recent senate report on how the chairman and his general counsel capitulated to white house demands and cooked the record in the net neutrality proceeding illustrates without question the willingness of agency leadership to subvert fair and open process to political pressure from the white house. but that's not all. i am very concerned about the fcc's actions regarding set top boxes and what that
means for copyrighted programming and consumer privacy. while the fcc has wrapped its proposal in pro-competition and pro-consumer bunting a broad range of stakeholders including content providers, program distributors large and small, and civil rights groups have emerged pointing out that the proposal raises serious concerns about its downside. meanwhile, the chairman has circulated a proposal to impose privacy rules on isps modeled on those for the old telephone network. instead of making the proposal public for all to see, all the public gets is a fact sheet. words matter. mr. chairman, i call on you to make the proposal available for all to see and comment upon. and i think i would be helpful and informative. and the chairman has circulated his plan to expand the lifeline program to subsidize mobile and fixed broadband internet access, and contemplates increasing spending by $750 million. again, because the proposal is not public we have only the
fcc's fact sheet to guide our understanding, while it appears that chairman wheeler has proposed a budget mechanism, certainly a necessary step, and reforms to combat, waste, fraud and abuse, the devil is in the details as to whether they are meaningful, details which we cannot see until the item is adopted and released. notably absent from the fcc's marketing materials is a discussion of the financial impact of the proposal on the families that pay each month through fees on their phone bills to support the program. these are significant matters that will define how we communicate for years to come. it will not serve the american people if they are resolved in a manner that ignores opposing views, discredits opposing input on its face, and gives short shrift to collaboration in favor of expediency. good process, openness, transparency, and accountability, honest policy debate, and compromise are the catalyst for balanced, sustainable, outcomes. finally, let me end with this note. if all goes as planned, and it appears that it will, the
incentive auction will begin on march 29th. i commend the commission and the staff and the chairman for moving this process along. it's been a very difficult road, never traveled before. i consider the legislation that got us here some of the most important work to have come out of our subcommittee, legislation that reflected bipartisan agreement, reached through debate and compromise. i think of something we could all be proud of. we all hope that the auction is a success. and of course, only time will tell. but mr. chairman, as you have recognized this is only the beginning of a very complex endeavor. i was pleased to see that your staff has already turned to the post-auction repack. there are, of course, controversies about the sufficiency of the 39-month timeline and the $1.75 billion set aside to fund it. in addition, i remain concerned about keeping translators and low power television stations on the air. i remind the fcc of the age-old requirement that licensed stations supersede unlicensed uses of broadcast spectrum.
know that we take these issues seriously and will continue to work closely with you and your team as this phase of the post auction proceeds to make sure that the intent of the law is followed and that free over the air broadcast programming is not adversely affected. i didn't thank you for your good work on the auction. i guess i'd used all the time i have. so with that i would recognize the gentleman from california for opening remarks, you can thank the chairman of the commission for the work you do and for being here today. >> thank you, mr. chairman. good morning to you and welcome back to the chairman and each of the commissioners. it's been four months since you've been here. i think that you have made optimum use of the four months since your last year because you are a series of actions that are being taken up at the commission that i think put consumers